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Film: Dabangg 3

Cast: Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sudeep

Directed by: Prabhudeva

Duration: 2 hrs 42 mins

Rating: *

To put it plainly, Dabangg 3 is at least thrice as worse as the previous Dabangg film, which was quite bad actually.  This is filmmaking, storytelling and even acting that plummets to new lows of boredom. Dabangg 2 was bad, this is just excruciatingly boring. 

Back in 2010, when Abhinav Kashyap directed Dabangg, Chulbul Pandey became a hit and made lots of money at the box office, which prompted a sequel, a couple of years later.

This film seems to have been made with the sole intention of cashing on the success of the funny cop – nothing wrong with that except that only the presence of Salman Khan is not enough to salvage a film, you need half a decent story to go with it. And for the record, this is one of Salman Khan’s worst performances, not that there have been too many noteworthy performances from him.

For a long time into the film, you wonder what exactly is the point of it and where is it going – it is all so very in cohesive. Then at some point you realise, the filmmakers want to tell the back story and that too in a way which no one cares. When Chulbul (Salman Khan) was young, he was in love with Khushi (Saiee Manjrekar) and all set to tie the knot till a villain called Bali (Sudeep) plays spoilsport. Like in those terrible films of the ’80s, even he is in love with the girl and desires her but it all ends in a tragedy.

Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha) is still very much around and to be fair, only her character seems to have some spunk – the rest, including the hero, are purely lame. The villain is still alive and kicking, giving an opportunity to finish the job that was left incomplete.

Clocking almost three hours including the intermission, the story doesn’t even deserve half the amount of time. There are those songs in exotic or lavish locales which send you straight into the arms of Morpheus.

After the extra dose of misogyny in his previous films, Prabhudeva tries to make amends this time with some tokenism – like the scene where the hero suggests that he should be the one giving dowry. But never mind if Salman Khan is romancing a girl less than half his age. And Dolly Bindra gets subjected to two tight slaps which then receive a justification.  

Of the cast, there is nothing to write home about. If you survive this ordeal, you are the real Dabangg.

The Sith Sense

Film: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Cast: Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver

Directed by: J J Abrams

Duration: 2 hrs 21 mins

Rating: * * * 1 / 2

The trilogy of grand-daddy of trilogies comes to an end with Star Wars – The Rise of Skywalker. The franchise which started in 1977 is one of the most popular ever in the history of cinema and nine films later it continues to enthrall audiences. The good news is that The Rise of Skywalker is an entertaining film but as the final film of the trilogy, it is not exactly befitting. It leaves you with a sense that there are more loose ends to be tied and there is more to come.

The production itself went through a rocky phase with the director Colin Treverrow walking out because of creative differences and then J J Abrams took over making him the only one, apart from George Lucas, to direct two Star Wars films (not forgetting Star Trek Into Darkness and Mission Impossible III).

The last three films known as the sequel trilogy breathed considerable life into the franchise after the prequels which came in early 2000 and failed to make a mark. The Last Jedi (2017) by Rian Johnson introduced new characters and took the story in a different direction while maintaining the essence of Star Wars.      

In The Rise of Skywalker, Rey (Daisy Ridley) becomes the centre of the story, along with storm trooper turned good guy Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) whose conscience also woke up in the previous film. Princess Leia (late Carrie Fisher, from some unused footage and CGI) ) is still leading the resistance and the trio along with Chewie and C-3PO embark on a mission, with great camaraderie, to tackle the Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who, it was assumed, is long gone. He strikes a deal with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, with a cracked mask) to get rid of Rey so that he can become all powerful. Ren and Rey meanwhile have a connection with each other and he can literally get into her head, whenever he wants.

It is fair to say that the screenplay manoeuvres smoothly from one star, and from one encounter to another. To add to it, there’s Luke Skywalker and Han Solo who have a cameo but the other regulars like Chewbacca and C-3PO have a fair bit of screen time to crank up the nostalgia. Also, the relatively newer characters like Rey, Finn and Poe, fit into the scheme of things with ease. But there are a few questions answered which would act as spoilers if they are mentioned here.

John Williams’ legendary score is still as rousing as ever whether it is the main theme or the Imperial March, it still gives you goose bumps. With five Star Wars films since 2015 (the trilogy plus two anthology films), the franchise was getting into the overdose mode but with the completion of the trilogy with The Rise of Skywalker fans can take a breather for some time.

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